Oatmeal can make a healthy breakfast or even a snack for toddlers. There are a variety of ways you can prepare oatmeal for toddlers from favorite toppings and mix-ins to creative recipes for oat muffins or even oat cookies.
At the end of this article, I’m excited to share 10 favorite oatmeal recipes and ideas that will keep your toddler happy and full!
Benefits of Oatmeal for Toddlers
Oatmeal is a whole grain and therefore contains fiber and other nutrients. One 1/2 cup serving of cooked oatmeal can provide 4 grams of fiber. Mixing other ingredients and toppings in your oatmeal that provide fat and protein can help make it a well-balanced breakfast for your toddler.
Oatmeal Can Help Toddler’s Constipation
Oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber and oat bran. As we all know, constipation can be very uncomfortable. Oatmeal, along with healthy fats and drinking plenty of water, can help prevent or even resolve constipation in toddlers.
Choosing the Oat Type for Your Toddler
At the store, you will find many different types of oats – from instant oats and rolled oats to oat groats and steel-cut oats. Of course, the baby aisle even features baby oats! However, don’t let all of the different kinds of oats overwhelm you.
Different oats can be beneficial for different types of recipes and uses for your toddler. No matter what type of oats you choose, making oatmeal for your toddler or kids can be an easy and delicious breakfast.
Preparing a basic bowl of oatmeal with rolled oats will make a soft and smooth bowl of traditional oatmeal. This can be perfect for toddlers and babies. It’s easy to find at any grocery store and can be prepared quickly on the stove or even in the microwave.
Instant oatmeal is also an option, especially for busy mornings. This oatmeal can be heated up in the microwave, on your stove, or simply by adding hot water. It is quicker to cook than traditional old-fashioned oats.
While some brands precook instant oats, other brands simply cut them finer to allow for a quicker cook time. They can also be used to make some recipes that contain oats for a finer texture.
Steel Cut Oats
Steel-cut oatmeal is often chewy with a nutty flavor. Because it’s so hearty, steel-cut oats can make for an excellent breakfast or snack option for toddlers.
This oatmeal will take a little bit longer to cook, but it’s a great way to provide more variety for your toddler.
Like old-fashioned and instant/quick-cooking oats, steel-cut oatmeal can also be used to make a variety of oat recipes beyond a simple bowl of oatmeal, from oat pancakes to oatmeal muffins and quick bread.
Should I buy “Baby Oats” for my baby or toddler?
Baby oatmeal is a bit thinner in texture than traditional oatmeal because of how finely the oats are cut. Additionally, it is typically fortified with iron. It’s not typically necessary to buy baby oatmeal for your toddler or baby. If you are looking for a finer oat texture you can buy instant or quick-cooking oats.
Some parents opt for baby oats for the iron, but infant cereal is not needed to meet iron needs. You can speak with your personal Registered Dietitian or Pediatrician if you want specific recommendations for your baby.
Is organic oatmeal necessary?
The concern with conventional oats is that they may contain harmful chemicals such as glyphosate from the spraying of Roundup. Organic oats are not sprayed with glyphosate, although there may be some contamination in fields near conventional oats.
Glyphosate is an herbicide that has been linked to a number of health conditions including cancer and birth defects. While organic oatmeal can be more expensive, if it fits in your budget it can be a worthwhile buy.
How to Sweeten Oatmeal for Toddlers
If you’re looking to sweeten your toddler’s oatmeal, there are many different options. While it’s recommended to avoid any added sugar before the age of 2, for an older toddler you can sweeten a bowl of oatmeal with honey, maple syrup, or even date syrup.
For a baby or a 1-year-old, try sweetening their oats with fruit puree, applesauce, or even mashed bananas. In fact, many younger babies will happily eat oats plain without even using fruit to sweeten them.
Favorite Oatmeal Mix-Ins & Toppings for Kids
There are many healthy and yummy oatmeal toppings and mix-ins you can try!
Some of our favorites include:
- Cut or even pureed fruit – We love to use applesauce, mashed bananas, squash or sweet potato puree, and thinly shredded or diced apples.
- Dried Fruit – Raisins, cranberries, and small diced prunes are some of our favorites.
- Nut Butter – peanut butter, almond butter, or even seed butter such as pumpkin seed butter.
- Unsweetened shredded coconut
- Chocolate chips or sprinkles (like these without artificial dyes) make a bowl of oatmeal even more special or surprising.
Oatmeal Breakfast Recipes & Snack Ideas for Toddlers
If you’re looking to make oatmeal for your toddler’s breakfast, there are many delicious recipes available. Here are a few of our favorite recipes and ideas:
1. Oatmeal Sweetened with Pureed Fruit
Simply fix a bowl of old-fashioned oats and sweeten it with unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas, or even mashed or pureed squash or sweet potato. This can be a great way to serve oatmeal to babies or young toddlers.
2. Oatmeal Your Way
Top your toddler’s oatmeal with their favorite sliced or diced fruit, nut butter, and maybe even a drizzle of honey or maple syrup (for toddlers 2 and older) to add some extra flavor!
3. Banana Sweetened Overnight Oats for Toddlers
These no sugar banana overnight oats are a favorite for both of my toddlers. We make up a big batch at once and eat them throughout the week. Loaded with Greek yogurt, nut butter, milk, and fruit they make a well-balanced breakfast and will keep your toddler full for longer.
These instant pot steel-cut oats are sweetened with apple cider and make a delicious breakfast for the whole family. The instant pot is a great hands-off way to cook steel-cut oats quickly.
5. Oatmeal Banana Pancakes for Littles
These oatmeal banana pancakes are a perfect way to serve oats to toddlers or babies! Naturally sweetened with bananas, there is no need for syrup for the littles. Plus, they are made with extra eggs giving them plenty of protein.
6. Baked Oatmeal
Baked oatmeal is another favorite at our house and something our kids enjoy. We love this recipe that uses sweet potato or bananas (depending on what we have on hand) and I also love to mix in shredded carrots! I just leave the sweet topping off my 1-year-old’s section!
Oat Snacks for Toddlers
Oatmeal is not just for breakfast! From oat muffins to oat balls – these recipes make great oat snacks for toddlers. Here are some oatmeal snack ideas that you can try with your toddler or kids:
7. No Sugar Pumpkin Muffins…featuring Oats (of course!)
These 6 ingredient no sugar muffins are made with oatmeal and sweetened with dates and pumpkin. They are absolutely perfect for the whole family – even your littles! Eat them alongside some greek yogurt or an egg for a complete breakfast or they make a perfect pack along snack! (We LOOOVE stasher bags for packing snacks.)
We love to serve these as a snack for our kids, but these healthy toddler cookies would make a great breakfast for your toddler or your baby as well. They feature oats, carrots, and dates to name a few.
9. Oat or Energy Balls
10. Homemade Granola or Granola Oat Bars
Making homemade granola to top on yogurt or eat with milk can make a delicious snack (or breakfast.) These delicious homemade granola bars feature oats, sliced/chopped nuts, and pumpkin seeds. Just make sure you chop any nuts and seeds appropriately for your toddlers and little ones!
How do your toddlers like oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a great breakfast or snack for toddlers! You can make use of a variety of different types of oats and oat recipes to make anything from a bowl of oatmeal to oat muffins for your toddler. I hope the information provided here gives you some ideas in order to make oatmeal fun and nutritious for your little one.
Be sure to download my toddler grocery & snack list so that you’re prepared before heading out on another shopping trip. And don’t forget to let us know your toddler’s favorite way to eat oatmeal in the comments below!